Skip to content
Deacon Keith Fournier Hi reader, it seems you use Catholic Online a lot; that's great! It's a little awkward to ask, but we need your help. If you have already donated, we sincerely thank you. We're not salespeople, but we depend on donations averaging $14.76 and fewer than 1% of readers give. If you donate just $5.00, the price of your coffee, Catholic Online School could keep thriving. Thank you. Help Now >

Scientists warn Jesus' tomb is now in danger of crumbling

Free World Class Education
FREE Catholic Classes

3/31/2017 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (

'It doesn't belong to us, it belongs to all humanity.'

Jesus' tomb was recently reopened to the public following a lengthy restoration, but now scientists warn the sacred site may be at risk of collapse.

Will Jesus' tomb crumble due to a poor foundation?

Will Jesus' tomb crumble due to a poor foundation?


Catholic Online (
3/31/2017 (2 years ago)

Published in Middle East

Keywords: Jesus, tomb, collapse

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to National Geographic, scientists believe there is a "very real risk" that Jesus' tomb rests on an extremely unstable foundation.

A team from the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), which just completed the tomb's restoration, warned more work is required or the holy site can cave in on itself.

Antonia Moropoulou, NTUA's chief scientific supervisor, stated, "When it fails, the failure will not be a slow process, but catastrophic."

Ground-penetrating radar, robotic cameras and other high-tech tools were used to reveal the site, which is found within the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, rests on a foundation of crumbled remnants of earlier structures and contains several tunnels and channels, further shaking the already unstable land.

Mortar for the foundation has crumbled after years of exposure to moisture and several of the 22-ton pillars holding the dome of the rotunda are barely holding up above over four feet of rubble.

Archaeologists believer about 2,000 years ago, the site was home to a limestone quarry that eventually turned into a home for tombs for the Jewish upper class. Several tombs were identified within the church grounds, including the tomb believed to belong to Jesus Christ.

Around 324 A.D., a Roman temple built on the site was destroyed by Constantine, the first Christian emperor of Rome. When the temple was eradicated, the tomb of Christ was discovered.

Constantine built a shrine around the tomb but it was partially destroyed by Persian invaders in the seventh century A.D. and again by the Fatimids in 1009.


Christ's tomb within The Edicule [shrine] inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, Israel (Vadim Petrakov/Shutterstock).

In the mid-11th century, the church was reconstructed and a small shrine to enclose Jesus' tomb called the Eicule, Latin for "little house," was erected. It was later altered by Crusaders and restored once more in the 16th and 19th centuries, all of which made the abused foundation even less stable.

The NTU proposed a 10-months, â'Ź6 million project, which involves the removal of fractured stone pavements around the Edicule, excavating over 1,000-square-feet of floor for the installation of new sewage and rainwater drainage around the perimeter of the rotunda and the grouting of foundation rubble and degraded mortar.

They suggest a plan to keep the roughly 4 million annual visitors from interrupting the important conservation work.

Many archaeologists are eagerly discussing the necessity of an archaeological excavation during the restoration process.

Martin Biddle, who studied the history of the Edicule for nearly ten years, claimed without the excavation, it "would be an intellectual scandal, and I choose my words very carefully."

Moropoulou agrees.

The NTUA team is currently processing data collected during the previous restoration and intents to make it available to other scientists on a "Holy Sephulchre Information Platform."

"This work is a collective work," Moropoulou explained. "It doesn't belong to us, it belongs to all humanity."


'Help Give every Student and Teacher FREE resources for a world-class Moral Catholic Education'

Copyright 2019 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for January 2019
Young People and the Example of Mary.
That young people, especially in Latin America, follow the example of Mary and respond to the call of the Lord to communicate the joy of the Gospel to the world.


More Middle East

Pro-life activists call for acquittal of doctor who refused to perform abortion in Argentina Watch

Image of

Pro-life advocates in Argentina have called for the acquittal of Dr. Leandro Rodríguez Lastra, whose trial started May 13 in Rio Negro ... continue reading

Pope Francis: Catholics and Orthodox are united by 'ecumenism of blood' Watch

Image of

 In Bulgaria Sunday, Pope Francis said Catholics and Orthodox are united by the blood of the martyrs and the Christians who continue ... continue reading

In South Sudan, the 'Blue Sisters' bring hope to abused women Watch

Image of

They were founded three decades ago in southern Sudan, and named the Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary. But in a region dramatically ... continue reading

Despite ongoing threats, ordination Mass takes place in Sri Lanka Watch

Image of

As most Catholic churches remain closed across Sri Lanka, following the Easter bombings that claimed more than 250 lives, one parish in a ... continue reading

New safety measures in place after Sri Lanka bombings Watch

Image of

One week after the Sri Lanka Easter bombings, authorities continue to seek those responsible for the violence, while enacting new security ... continue reading

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Deacon Keith Fournier Hi readers, it seems you use Catholic Online a lot; that's great! It's a little awkward to ask, but we need your help. If you have already donated, we sincerely thank you. We're not salespeople, but we depend on donations averaging $14.76 and fewer than 1% of readers give. If you donate just $5.00, the price of your coffee, Catholic Online School could keep thriving. Thank you. Help Now >

Learn about Catholic world

Catholic Online
Inform - Inspire - Ignite

Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained

Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need

Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online

Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye

Daily Reading
Today's bible reading

Lent / Easter
Death & resurrection of Jesus

Advent / Christmas
Birth of Jesus

Rest of Catholic Online
All Catholic world we offer

Products and services we offer

Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books

Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on

Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel

Learn the Catholic way

Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all

Student Classes
K-12 & Adult Education Classes

Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education

Connect with us online

Catholic Online on Facebook
Catholic social network

Catholic Online on Twitter
Catholic Tweets

Catholic Online on YouTube
Enjoy our videos

Catholic Online on Instagram
Shared Catholic moments

Catholic Online on Pinterest
Catholic ideas style inspiration

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.

Catholic Online is a Project of Your Catholic Voice Foundation, a Not-for-Profit Corporation. Your Catholic Voice Foundation has been granted a recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Federal Tax Identification Number: 81-0596847. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.